What is “active learning?” (in defense of contemplation)
I think it’s fair to say that one of progressive education’s central characteristics is its obsession with so-called “active learning” and its abhorrence of student passivity.
The Center for Research on Teaching and Learning at the University of Michigan defines active learning as “a process whereby students engage in activities, such as reading, writing, discussion, or problem solving that promote analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of class content,” which seems like a perfectly reasonable pedagogical prescription.
Obviously, one of the primary goals of teaching is to encourage students to engage with the material; it would be difficult for anyone to seriously argue that students should approach material passively. (more…)